16,000 dancing lights brighten Stonehedge Gardens Christmas
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Over 16,000 Christmas lights adorn this 15-foot high tree inside the Stonehedge Gardens in South Tamaqua.
Representing one of their holiday cornerstones, members and volunteers of Stonehedge Gardens in South Tamaqua have presented their annual indoor Tree Lighting Show every weekend to visitors.
Adorning the 18-foot tree are more than 16,000 twinkling holiday lights surrounded by innumerable porcelain, blown glass, antique, and hand-made ornaments and over three hundred feet of glittering Strauss Crystal, placed amidst Stonehedge's own magnificent, illuminated poinsettias and snowflakes.
For over 30 years, Russel Keich and the folks at Stonehedge Gardens have labored to share the warmth and beauty of their annual Tree Lighting, held twice a day every Friday to Sunday. According to Keich, It is a massive project that takes hundreds of hours to prepare for, starting the day after Halloween.
Each of six lighting segments is accompanied by its own music and lighting hues and includes the Ave Maria by Schubert, a traditional rendition of both The First Noel and O Sanctissima. The fourth segment opens with Beethoven's The Worship of God, Alexander's Once in Royal David's City and Silent Night with voice by Gruber/Mohr closes the program.
Volunteers added that lights of various hues are controlled by 25 separate dimmers and are choreographed to classical music of the season creating an atmosphere of ethereal warmth.
The tree lighting show is held yearly as one of the garden's key events. Shows, which last about 25 minutes, are held twice a day Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. starting the day after Thanksgiving and ending January 13, except for Christmas Day.
The performance is followed by refreshments of holiday punch, coffee and cookies, as well as an opportunity to share the magic with others.
Stonehedge is located just off the Route 309/Leiby's intersection at 51 Dairy Road, Tamaqua. Stonehedge Gardens, a nonprofit 501(c) 3 membership organization, operates almost completely through volunteer support and individual contributions. Its mission is to provide an environment for personal and community wellness through its six-acre public garden and arts programs. For more information contact Tracy Perry at (570) 449-4568 or go to www.stonehedgegardens.org.